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Lawncheck Weather Setup and Decision Process

Retrieve Local Weather Forecasts

Important Notice: As of May 2018 Weather Underground no longer provides free account keys. Existing WeatherUnderground keys continue to allow weather feed access, but if you don't already have a key you will not be able to use the WeatherUnderground data feeds with LawnCheck to optimize your irrigation.

We will be evaluating alternatives to WeatherUnderground. In the meantime the Yahoo Weather feed continues to work.

LawnCheck retrieves weather from the Yahoo! Weather feed or the Weather Underground network. Both networks provide local weather forecasts in most locations around the world. Selection of an appropriate weather station let's LawnCheck block irrigation before, during and after precipitation.

Select a station from Weather Underground

Weather Underground consists of a network of local weather stations. You can locate a weather station on Weather Underground's WunderMap®. There are many types of weather stations on the Weather Underground network from personal to professional; some are more reliable than others. Before selecting a station be careful to research the station that you select to ensure it provides accurate information and contains the sensors that you expect (for example, if you want rain gauge information, make sure the station has a functioning rain gauge). Many of these stations stop broadcasting at night; if the station you select isn't providing data when your weather is checked Weather Underground will try to provide data from the closest available working weather station.

  1. Sign up for a Weather Underground access key (Stratus Developer). (see note above)
  2. Select a weather station from WunderMap®.
  3. Enter your access key and your weather station ID in the fields provided in the weather setup screen.

Select local weather from Yahoo! Weather

Local weather can be retrieved from Yahoo! weather using one of three local code types:

  1. US 5-digit Zip Code - only for the United States
  2. Yahoo WOEID (Where On Earth ID) - International
    The Yahoo! WOEID code is recommended for retrieving local Yahoo! weather internationally. For information on WOEID, search: Yahoo WOEID location codes
  3. International weather codes. - International
    A list of weather stations is available from this site.

After you decide which code type to use, and you obtain your local code, enter the code in the field provided on the weather setup page in LawnCheck.
NOTE: Yahoo! Weather does not support PoP or rain gauge.

When is the Weather Checked?

The weather forecast is checked prior to your program start times. In addition, the weather forecast is retrieved a minimum of once a day, at approximately nine o'clock PM local time. NOTE: typically an irrigation cycle command is sent to the controller about 50 minutes prior to the programmed start time, so the pre-cycle weather check is made about 50 minutes prior to the start time.

Weather Dependent Control Operation Explanation

Lawncheck provides weather dependent controls for automatic irrigation optimization, The controls are easy to use; they can be assigned to a program by clicking a checkbox on the irrigation program definition page. The controls compare the weather data received from the forecast feed with thresholds that you set for your account. Thresholds are set on the LawnCheck Weather Setup page.

The remainder of this page describes the decision logic for weather dependent programs.

Temperature Dependent Programs

LawnCheck supports temperature dependent programs including programs that deactivate in cool weather and programs that will activate in hot weather. LawnCheck uses the forecast high temperature when making an irrigation decision because it is indicative of the environmental evapotranspiration rate.

Cool Weather Block

A program that has a cool weather deactivation control assigned to it will block irrigation when the forecast high temperature for today is equal to or less than the set threshold. The set threshold must be greater than zero degrees.
NOTE: the forecast high of the day is used as the determining temperature; not the run-time temperature. The forecast high of the day is indicative of the environmental evapotranspiration rate. A blocked cool cycle will be noted in the command log.

Hot Weather Activation

A hot weather program runs whenever either the run-time temperature, yesterday's high temperature, or the forecast high temperature for today OR tomorrow is greater than the set high temperature threshold. All four temperatures are checked and if any one of them is greater than the threshold, then the hot cycle will run.
NOTE: We check three days worth of high temperatures to determine if the hot cycle should run. If hot weather is coming, it's generally better to apply water earlier, before the hot weather arrives because the water gets a chance to soak further into the ground.
A block will be noted in the log when a "hot cycle" does not run.

Precipitation Blocks

Local Rain Sensor

The local sensor reports it's status to LawnCheck. If the local rain sensor is indicating rain, then LawnCheck will block the irrigation cycle. The log will note a block due to local rain.

Typically a rain sensor will hold the "rain" signal "on" after rain has left the area. This is typically desirable because it helps to block irrigation after rain has stopped.

A feature of LawnCheck called RainBrain™ extends the precipitation block time up to 24 hours after the rain signal from your sensor resets. Check the RainBrain box if you wish to ensure that irrigation is blocked or reduced for up to 24 hours after precipitation.

Current Conditions Precipition Blocks

Both Weather Underground and Yahoo! Weather provide a current conditions status. When a weather check is made, if the current conditions code (in the case of Yahoo! Weather) is a precipitation code, then the cycle will be blocked. If the word "rain" appears in the condition code text for the Weather Underground feed, the cycle will be blocked. If the current conditions code causes a cycle block, then a the block will be noted in the log.

Probability of Precipitation (PoP)

The Weather Underground weather feed provides a PoP forecast in most instances. If the forecast PoP for today OR tomorrow exceeds the threshold set within the account, then the cycle will be blocked. A log entry indicating a PoP block will be made. Note: The PoP block looks at both today's forecast PoP AND tomorrow's forecasted PoP. This is a great control for blocking irrigation prior to rain, but make sure to set your threshold sufficiently high for your conditions.

Rain Gauge

Depending on the weather station selected, the Weather Underground weather feed provides rain gauge measurements. The rain gauge data represents the 24 hour rain total. In addition, the rain gauge information is saved for one day by LawnCheck.

If the provided rain gauge data equals or exceeds the set threshold (the threshold must be set at greater than zero), then the cycle will be blocked. Because LawnCheck saves the rain gauge reading, the rain gauge reading for yesterday is also checked, and added to today's rain gauge reading to determine if the threshold is met or exceeded.

By automatically saving the the rain gauge data for one day, LawnCheck can extend irrigation blocks based on rain gauge for up to 36 hours after rain has stopped.

When to Schedule Temperature Dependent Cycles

Because it's difficult to plan temperature dependent cycles, it's best to schedule them when there won't be any planned activity - such as early in the morning (best) or evening.

Legal Stuff

Weather Underground® is a Registered Trademark of Weather Underground Inc.
WunderMap® is a Registered Trademark of Weather Underground Inc.
RainBrain™ is a Trademark of QuickSmart Devleopment